B2B content marketing best practices often become obsolete fast. If your current strategies don’t deliver the expected outcomes, read on to discover four specific ways to make progress.
If you lay good foundations for content marketing, you’ll be more likely to succeed. In this article, we will explore what you can do.
Let’s dive into it.
Conduct A Competitor Analysis
One of the best ways to get useful insights is to look into your top-ranking competitors generating a good amount of search engine traffic from Google. If certain competitors are ranking on the first page of Google for some relevant search queries, their content marketing strategies are working well.
Here are the steps for conducting the competitor analysis.
Identify Your Most Relevant Keywords
These are the keywords your potential customers are usually searching for when they need a solution to a problem or education on certain topics. You can look at it from an audience’s pain point and product-related perspectives.
Conduct Some Searches On Google
Do a simple search with each of the relevant keywords on your list. Take note of the exact industry competitors ranking on the first page. At this point, focus on top-ranking websites that are in the same business as yours.
List Out The Competitors
From the first page results for each keyword, you can then make a list of top-ranking competitors. These are the main competitors whose content strategy you should be analyzing. Look into the exact pages ranking for each of your target keywords. Try to find answers to these questions:
- What type of content is ranking for each keyword? Is the content focused on audience pain points or product-focused?
- How is the content structured? If you see a featured snippet, note how they use bullet lists or numbers.
- How are they using content on each of those pages?
- How many backlinks are referring to each of those pages? You can use Google or Ahrefs to get some deeper insights.
Create A Detailed Buyer Persona
One of the biggest problems, especially in SaaS content marketing, is that businesses spend their content marketing budget on creating content with no defined audience in mind.
The solution is to start your content strategy with a detailed buyer persona.
Note here that we are not talking about the audience persona. While everyone tells you to avoid promotional content that might turn your blog into blatant sales pages, there is certainly a place for content created with the singular goal of attracting real buyers, not free content seekers.
Especially in a B2B marketing context, consider the size of the companies you are targeting. That’s because the person using a SaaS product is sometimes different from the person making the actual purchase decision.
And in most cases, their personas and priorities are very different.
Here are some of the key questions to help you fill in the details about your buyer persona.
Who are we targeting?
This is where you add demographic details like age, location, and job title. For example, the content strategy might target heads of marketing or CTO within SMB SaaS companies with less than 10 employees.
What specific goals do these people want to accomplish?
Depending on their business, the goal might be reducing the churn rate, faster customer support, or acquiring new customers. You can engage your existing customer base to uncover some of these things.
What are the major barriers to accomplishing their stipulated goals? This is where you’ll begin to go beyond demographic information.
You can use review websites like G2 and Capterra to understand what your ideal buyer personas dislike about competitor products. Your customer support tickets and complaints are also good sources of information.
Why are some of these people objecting to purchase your products? If you have an active sales team, these people should help you to identify some of the most common buyer objections.
Above are some of the major pointers you should follow to fill out the details about your ideal buyer persona. With clear identification, it will become easier to create an attractive and effective content strategy that will deliver the results you want.
But that’s not all. Let’s look at the next step.
Document Your Content Strategy
According to the Content Marketing Institute, over 80% of the least successful content marketers do not work with a documented strategy. Operating in this form is like walking in a crowded marketplace with closed eyes.
From goal setting to execution and performance tracking, having a documented content marketing strategy will put you ahead of competitors that ignore this part.
Moreover, you have to do this before investing money or time to create a single piece of content.
To some extent, the details of your strategy document will depend on the team size. Larger teams will need a more detailed document.
In specific terms, below are some ways documentation can help you improve both the strategy and the outcomes.
Record Your Current Numbers
Before you can start investing your money, you have to understand where you are currently. Think about variables like monthly website traffic, free trial user base, paying customers, blog reader conversion rate, and ROI. Where are you at the moment?
Set Your Goals
Setting a content marketing goal is one of the most important steps towards improving your strategy. Creating random content based on intuition won’t cut it. This is the stage where you set the traffic generation, lead generation, and user-acquisition goals aligned with your content marketing strategy.
As noted earlier, a little misalignment, in this case, could have you spending your money on a mismatched audience.
Set The Content Marketing Budget
The first thing to note here is that no one ever gets an unlimited budget to work with. In this context, the team size and your target goals should be the core determinants of what to spend.
Implement A Performance Tracking System
Before you invest in content promotion strategy or creation, it is important to implement a performance-tracking system aligned with your content marketing goals.
While you are here, note the distinction between brand awareness goal and user acquisition or product marketing goals. Every buying cycle has stages, and ideally, your content should cover them all.
The main point to take away is that content marketing doesn’t have to stop at growing brand awareness with thought-leadership content. If you stop there, you might end up spending your budget on vanity metrics.
While there is no perfect way to document your content strategy, these steps discussed above will help you make progressive improvements. But remember, all the variables involved have to be aligned properly to make it work.
Leverage Educational Content
According to Nathan Barry, the founder of ConvertKit, teaching is the best way to sell. Besides the traditional context of it, teaching positions you as an authority. It makes people like and trust you. And that gives you the power to influence perception, emotion, and purchase decisions.
Educational content is excellent for attracting an audience that is not yet looking to purchase your product but is just looking to solve an immediate problem. However, once they come to your site, you can turn them into customers if you present yourself as an authority and problem solver.
Many SaaS businesses leverage this approach to attract visitors at the “top-of-the-funnel” or awareness stage. Ideally, you’ll create equally relevant content for other stages as well, and nudge the prospects down the sales funnel until they are ready to purchase.
More than anything else, the topics you are covering and the audience you are targeting will determine whether your content strategy is working or failing.
If the content you’ve been creating has been delivering a poor conversion rate, you need to improve the alignment between your target audience and content topics. The perfect place to start is with the buyer persona created in the other section.
To make it even more effective, your educational content should help the buyer persona accomplish a task, do their work, overcome some known challenges, or solve a specific problem.
Examples of educational content include blog posts, webinars, and video tutorials. For more insights, check out how Proposify is using webinars to market their SaaS products.
More than anybody else, you are the one to tell if your current content marketing strategy is working or not. Even when it is working, there is always room for improvement. You just have to understand and pull the right growth levers.
The key points discussed here are some of the most important variables. Start with competitor analysis to model the top performers in your niche. Create a detailed buyer persona, and then document your content strategy.
When you do these things, you can then move on to leveraging content to accomplish your current marketing goals.